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Just terrible

You may recall that I have access to a neglected orchard (I tried to buy it, but oh well). I’ve just been apple picking and that is easily the worst harvest I’ve ever seen. Most of the apple trees had NO fruit on them at all.

It’s possible someone nipped in ahead of me and picked them clean, but I don’t think so. There wasn’t any fruit on the ground.

The plum trees had a little fruit. Not much. The quince trees were barren. Same for the cobnut. The only thing thriving are the blackberries.

I’ve heard the commercial harvest was similarly shit this year. The cherries earlier this Summer were scarce and sour (not enough sunshine).

I got these two buckets of sour green cooking apples.

So, any simple apple ideas? I tried an internet recipe: core it but leave the bottom in. Fill the hole with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. Microwave three minutes.

It dissolved into a giant puddle of mush, but I have to admit – it was a tasty giant puddle of mush. Next time, I’ll a little less time, a little less butter and a little more brown sugar. And nuke it in a bowl.

Oooo…I bet that would be nice mixed with oatmeal.


Comment from lauraw
Time: September 15, 2021, 6:40 pm

If they’re nice tart apples, you could make a grilled cheese sandwich with them. A sharp cheddar works nicely. Gruyere? Use your imagination, I guess. If the apples are really hard, maybe give the apple slices a swift trip through a hot skillet with some butter and cinnamon sugar first, before loading them onto the bread.

Comment from BJM
Time: September 15, 2021, 7:18 pm

How about one of these babies…

Or saute the apples in caramelized brown sugar and butter re the above recipe, spoon over vanilla ice cream. You can prolly do this in the microwave too.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: September 15, 2021, 7:46 pm

“not enough sunshine”

How can that be with all the Glowbull Warming???

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: September 15, 2021, 10:12 pm

You might try some apple pancakes. I don’t have a formal recipe, but the gist is to put some thin apple slices in your pan with butter, cinnamon, and perhaps a little sugar and cook that a bit before pouring on your pancake batter. From there, it’s more-or-less pancakes as usual: flip the flapjacks when the bubbles on top look right, then continue cooking until the bottom looks right.

Maple syrup is a good topper, but my own favorite is raspberry syrup. And butter, duh.

Note to Brits: Marmite is NOT a suitable substitute for syrup.
Note to Yanks: Karo Syrup is NOT a suitable substitute for actual real syrup.

Comment from Cantharkmycry
Time: September 15, 2021, 11:42 pm

Apple butter is my go-to solution for apples not worth eating fresh: remove stems and leaves, quarter, cover and cook down very slowly (crock pots are good for this). When mush, put through food mill or medium-to-fine mesh strainer to eliminate core and seeds, and use as a bread spread (you may want to cook down even further to get a stiffer texture). Some whole cinnamon, cloves, gingerroot added at the beginning can perk up the taste. . .and some dark sugar (muscovado, jaggery, piloncillo) is good if they aren’t sweet enough.

Comment from Some Vegatable
Time: September 16, 2021, 12:16 am

Stop me if you’ve heard this one:


Comment from Armybrat
Time: September 16, 2021, 12:45 am

If they’re a soft, mushy apple with just a bit of baking your two choices are applesauce or apple butter.
I lived on some acreage in KS with fruit trees. Imma a city girl but I was determined to make a go of the country shit. I had the extension program come and give me “farm girl” lessons. Our trees (8 apple, 4 apricot, 6 sour/pie cherry, 12 pecan) had been sorely neglected for years. Two years of heavy/judicious pruning and an agreement with a local guy to place a couple of hives turned everything around…almost to my chagrin!

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: September 16, 2021, 12:57 am

Everybody covered the cinnamon, butter.
Brown sugar.
Core them but leave the button on.
Dutch oven over a slow fire.

Did y’all have a shortage of “white man’s flys” this year?
I know honey bees were going extinct at any moment, but I assume that didn’t happen in line with the Gerbil Warning doom predictions because the media has shut completely up about it.

And hurrah so far for Spacex! Godspeed good travelers, may you come home safe, sound, and amazing!

NASA would like to do that kind of stuff but they’re busy with social engineering instead of space engineering.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: September 16, 2021, 1:46 pm

You were half-way there Stoaty—to making Apple Dumplings. All you needed was the pastry, and you can probably buy pre-made pie crusts in a roll.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 16, 2021, 2:02 pm

We’re doing okay with bees, though there was a lot of local alarm. I have learned that our garden is also full of unlikely pollinators (including houseflies! Who knew?).

Armybrat, when I still thought the owner might sell it to me, I looked into what it would take to revive the orchard. I’m itching to get in there and slowly start pruning away dead branches. That’s what the internet told me to do with a very old orchard: start taking dead wood away, a little every year.

These trees are covered in lichen, which I thought was a bad sign, but it turns out it’s a good thing…it’s a sign there’s free air flow around them.

…makes notes of all the recipes…

Comment from Anonymous
Time: September 16, 2021, 3:17 pm

@Stoaty…Monty Don had a Gardener’s World program on reviving an old orchard…I have no idea what season. His book “Down to Earth” covers it. You should identify the species before pruning, do you have an agricultural extension program in your county? Ours will identify trees if leaves and fruit spurs are taken into their offices. Nurseries that sell fruit trees can often identify trees (always take samples in a plastic bag to prevent contamination).

Comment from BJM
Time: September 16, 2021, 3:44 pm

well sheet…that’s me above.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 16, 2021, 6:35 pm

I’d love to, BJM, but the bastard won’t sell it to me. I thought about offering to work on it gratis, since I get most of the benefit of the apples, but…would that sound weird? Please, sir, may I prune your orchard?

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: September 16, 2021, 11:53 pm

Yes—it would sound weird. But it would also demonstrate how much you care about the orchard. The apples need loving attention. Maybe he says no, but maybe he says ok.

Comment from Sabrina Chase
Time: September 17, 2021, 4:02 am

Fruit harvest here in the PNW was abysmal too. Had lots of baby apples on my vintage Smokehouse tree, and they either dropped off or just sit there sulking and refusing to grow. My asian pear, though, managed to produce four GIANT pears. That might be used as symbols of power in Scotland, being round. Or your could eat them, as they are more delicious than rocks. And I’m quite sure I have pollinators galore, since the little mason bees have exploded beyond the little bee house I have for them and taken up residence (sigh) in my window frames. It was just a strange year all around…

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